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Monday, June 19, 2017

AUTHORS TO WATCH: LOUIS KRAFT CO-AUTHOR THE DISCOVERY







Author/historian Louis Kraft has focused his energy on producing work that highlights racism and the human experience of people who have put their lives on the line to prevent war. He has written articles for magazines, including Research Review and Wild West, as well as fiction (The Final Showdown) and nonfiction (Gatewood & Geronimo) books. Kraft returned to fiction writing when he collaborated with Robert S. Goodman on The Discovery.
Visit his website at www.readthediscovery.com.




Title: THE DISCOVERY
Author: Louis Kraft & Robert S. Goodman MD
Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 311
Genre: Legal Thriller

In THE DISCOVERY by Robert S. Goodman and Louis Kraft, a young obstetrician/gynecologist delivers a premature baby after attending a dinner party. The child survives the delivery, but complications lead to a malpractice lawsuit two decades later.
In 1952, a pregnant seventeen-year-old gives birth in a Los Angeles hospital. Two nurses attend to the young woman while they wait for the doctor on call to arrive for the delivery. Dr. Harry Chapman arrives at the hospital clearheaded but with alcohol on his breath. The premature baby is born blue and placed in an incubator. The nurses turn the oxygen to the level recommended to pediatricians for preemies the year before to prevent blindness. When the baby’s color doesn’t change, Harry instructs the nurses to turn the oxygen up to maximum. They protest, but Harry insists that the nurses comply to save the baby from brain damage or death.
In 1972, Greg Weston, a twenty-year-old paralegal meets a young woman who works with a renowned pediatrician. When she questions the attractive young man about his blindness, Greg reveals that his adoptive parents told him he was born blind. After agreeing to see the doctor Gail works for, Greg becomes aware that his blindness may have occurred as a result of physician error. Greg requests his medical records from the hospital and the adoption agency, and he finds that the hospital records tell a different story about what took place after his birth. In both records, Dr. Harry Chapman is indicated as the doctor who delivered him. Greg shares his findings with a partner in his law firm, and they build a case against Dr. Chapman based on fraudulent changes in the hospital records, which allows the statute of limitations to be thrown out.
After Harry receives word that he is being sued, his attorney advises him that the malpractice insurance he carried in 1952 will not cover even a fraction of the multimillion-dollar lawsuit. The stress and uncertainty of the case, along with the accusation of fraud, breaks Harry, leading him down a road of depression and alcohol dependence. As Harry’s wife, Helen, watches her husband deteriorate, she makes an unthinkable choice to put an end to the plaintiff’s case.
In THE DISCOVERY, the authors connect the lives of two individuals across two decades, exposing vulnerabilities, bitterness, and frailties. As the case moves forward, a key witness’s testimony alters the lives of both men.
In writing THE DISCOVERY, Goodman and Kraft’s intentions were to offer readers multidimensional characters with real-world problems and to bring awareness to the severe affect malpractice lawsuits can have on physicians’ professional and personal lives.
The Discovery is available at Amazon.



Tell us a little about yourself.

I began as an actor but the mid-1970s set me on the path to becoming a writer when I for the second time encountered extreme racial prejudice. This was the beginning of the end of my acting career (although it was resurrected in the 21st century). By the mid-1980s I had begun selling magazine articles and receiving pay to deliver talks. In 1990 I was hired as a technical writer based completely upon my freelance writing and artistic design capabilities. On the first day of the job I asked the manager if I could get some technical training. He laughed and said: “You’re on your own pal.” Not a problem for asked for and received the software that I would write about on my computer. I also buddied up with the engineers and product and program managers. This world was a mix of all races and bright people. I loved it. Better, it allowed me to research my non-fiction projects in the United States and abroad without worrying about money. This software-freelance goldmine lasted until 2012. At the moment I’m simply a freelance historian.

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

I always plot my stories. In my last published nonfiction book (Ned Wynkoop and the Tragic End of a Lifeway, OU Press, 2011) the proposal was large with a detailed chapter outline. The proposal for my next nonfiction book, Sand Creek and the Tragic End of a Lifeway, had a proposal that was 37 pages and the chapter outline was again detailed. This said everything is always open to change depending upon where the research leads. This is also true for fiction.

How did you get the idea for the book?

The book idea for The Discovery wasn’t mine. Dr. Robert S. Goodman came up with a fantastic premise of how a physician’s life can turn into a nightmare when he is sued twenty years after a child is born blind. Bob is a great physician but he is not a writer. I’ve been one of his patients for over twenty-five years. If it wasn’t for his medical advise well over a decade ago I would already be dancing with angels. He approached me to review 100 pages of his draft. I gave it an in-depth marked-up copyedit along with a detailed review of what he needed to do to complete his manuscript. Time passed and in fall 2013 he asked me to partner with him to flesh out and complete writing his manuscript. I didn’t jump as the story was spread over two decades and a lot of characters. At the same time I really liked his idea and thought it should come to life, but to make this work the characters needed be unique and not cliché. The other major question was how do I pull a plot together with huge gaps in time. I had ideas including separating book into sections but this was still an unknown, as I hadn’t seen the updated manuscript yet. It was a challenge, but one worth taking—I agreed to write the book.

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

Actually there are two of the characters that are my favorites. One was a leading player and the other was a major supporting player.

Helen Chapman is vivacious, alive, and although married to a successful physician, Harry Chapman, she is not just a beautiful prize that he displays to the world. She is her own person, and when Chapman is sued for malpractice 20 years after the incident she doesn’t quietly stand in the shadows. No, absolutely not. She does what she can to support her husband, and continues to do so while the pending court case threatens to end both of their lives—that is, take away everything they own from their bank accounts to their home, and ultimately their marriage and worse. As Harry’s and her marriage spirals toward total disaster, her entire life also nosedives into her own private hell. She refuses to accept this and makes decisions that when she made them she thought she was doing the right thing. No matter how bad her situation became and no matter how angry she became with Harry for his weakness and frailties she loved him. She loved him, and her love would lead her down a dark road without a glimpse of redemption. Still she chased it even though her anger at Harry signaled the end of their marriage. As her actions and reactions continued to head toward disaster an event showed the desperateness of Harry’s condition. More important it made her realize what she had done and what she really wanted regardless of the consequences. … Helen is based upon several women (plural) that I have known.

The supporting player is Tom Loman, an overweight lawyer with hair that needed to be clipped. He is good at what he does and he is Harry Chapman’s only chance to survive a lawsuit that is poised to ruin his entire life. Loman, and he was based upon two people that I know and one is me, is someone who while having succeeded beyond all expectations is still a normal guy. He cares for Harry Chapman and fights to save his future while at the same time he hides truths from his client that could possibly send him into the dark deep blue. He’s charming and bright, and even though he’s married (we never meet his wife) he refuses to be lured into a relationship. He’s a man of conscience, and certainly when he, the prosecuting attorney, and the judge on the case travel to Palm Springs, California, to depose a key witness. His sympathy and kindness are key to the Palm Springs chapter, which is my favorite in the book.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

Getting the facts straight regardless what they were while creating believable characters that were interconnected through time and place that created a devastating environment once a malpractice suit is set in motion. Also making all the plot twists plausible while dealing with violence, sexuality, and the growing threat of disaster.

Which authors have inspired your writing?

Not many. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer’s My Life on the Plains (1874); Errol Flynn’s magnificent memoir, My Wicked, Wicked Ways (1959); novelist Frank Yerby’s stories of reconstruction after the American Civil War and white-African race relations in the United States and elsewhere; and Robin Cook’s medical thrillers.

What projects are you currently working on?

There are two:
Sand Creek and the Tragic End of a Lifeway, which is contracted with the University of Oklahoma Press (OU Press). The deadline has been extended but is now firm. OU Press is the leading publisher of American Indian ethnology and Indian wars history in the world. The nonfiction manuscript deals with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians and their emergence onto the central plains to the east of the Rocky Mountains, the white man’s invasion of their land and the corrupt way in which they stole it. The manuscript focuses upon the Cheyennes (and to a lesser degree the Arapahos) as they deal with the invasion of their land, the destruction of their lifeway, language, culture, religion, and freedom from five different sides of the events that led up to an attack on a peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho village on Sand Creek; the massacre and mutilation of people (on November 29, 1864) who thought they were at peace and under the protection of the U.S. military; and the aftermath of the tragedy.
The other manuscript is Errol & Olivia, which deals with the life and times screen legends Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland during the golden age of cinema when they made eight films together (1935-1941).

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

Use any opportunity presented to you to meet and know writers, agents, and editors that are involved in the same subject matter that you write about (fiction such as a medical thriller or mystery; or nonfiction such as Indian wars history). Interact with them to the point that you not only become friends but if asked you can help them or they you. If there are conventions for what you write about, such as Western Writers of America (nonfiction and fiction) or Mystery Writers of America and so on, get involved for you never know when you’ll meet someone who can open a door that had been previously closed to you.

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